Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Final Season

The movie The Final Season was released today on DVD. Some of the filming was done at a home off of Grande Ave. about four blocks from where we live. It was kind of funny seeing all the filming vehicles lined up the street that night. I should have taken more pictures. The only one I did take was the sign on our street pointing to the direction of the filming. We walked down Grande that night hoping to see one of the actors, but couldn't get very close to see what was going on. I haven't seen the movie yet and I haven't really heard if it was any good or not. I put it at the top of our netflix list this morning.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thank You Sarah

Thank you Sarah Mason! These are two letters to the editor , that were in the Cedar Rapids Gazette this week. Generally, letters to the editor just plain piss me off. People are always complaining about something. It's just an open forum for bitching about everything. Every once in a while, there is some homophobic jerk that has to write in and complain about some gay person offending them. They think we have some audacity to be out in the open and be ourselves. Occasionally I think about responding, but stop myself because it seems like a waste of time. Anyway, I have this blog to do MY complaining on. Everyone has to pick their own battles. I really appreciate when other people respond to the bigots and stand up for gay people.

April 6, 2008

Drag queens inappropriate at a family parade

I took my kids to what I thought was the family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day Parade on March 17. Needless to say that my three kids, ages 7, 5 and 2, had a good time chasing all the candy, etc. My problem with the day was the display of a group of scantily dressed drag queens from a particular gay club parading with as much “pride” as possible. To make matters worse, someone was on a microphone promoting drag shows and how hot the queens are. I know about freedom of expression and all that, but perhaps there is a better place than a family parade for these people to express themselves. I for one will not go to another “family event” that is put on by the city unless I can be assured of the content.

Don Zasadny Anamosa

April 12, 2008

Drag queens have equal right to promote group

I’m writing in regard to an April 6 letter about drag queens being inappropriate for a family parade. St. Patrick’s Day is based around liquor and adults getting drunk. If the writer doesn’t see anything inappropriate in taking his young children to an event based around that, there is something wrong. “Those people” are just as human as anyone else and have just as much right to promote their business or organization. I didn’t see anything inappropriate in their dress or the way they showed pride for who they are and the business they supported. I would much rather have my 5-year-old around people who are proud of themselves and don’t judge anyone for being different instead of ignorant people who discriminate against others who might look or act a little differently.

Sarah Mason Cedar Rapids

Doing What You Love

IPTV is running the show Baking with Julia again. I just love Julia Child. She was such an interesting character. This morning her guests were Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford. They made wheat flour dough pita bread and eastern Mediterranean lamb and tomato bread. I like to bake bread when I have the time. Actually, I have the time this morning if I wanted to do it. I'm just feeling a little lazy. Pita bread looks like it may be fun to try. Cooking and baking are relaxing to me. I guess that's because I don't have to do it every day. If I had to, I probably wouldn't enjoy it as much. My mother always thought that I would be a chef. As a kid I was always baking something. I did enjoy doing it, but most of it was because I was hungry all the time and it was just fun to make something to eat. I sometimes think about going to cooking school. At times I wish I would have done that or anything else that would have given me more mobility with my work. I hate the fact that I'm stuck in one place. It's almost like I have to wait for retirement from my job so I can begin something new. And when that happens, I'm afraid that I will be to old to do it! I would be nice work at something you love everyday. I wonder how many people can say they truly love their jobs and they wouldn't want to do anything else? Julia Child when asked what she thought contributed to her success, said that she new her business and she loved what she did. I wish I could say that.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

That's My Job

We had an all employees meeting called today so the new plant manager could introduce himself to the grunts. During the meeting the various lower level managers discussed what their particular department have been building and the future production requirements and growth expectations at our plant.

At the end of all the presentations, they showed us a film about the Future Combat Systems . The film is suppose to show us how the technology of the products we are building and designing may be used to help our military become a more efficient fighting force.

As I watched a soldier in the film point a sensor on his target and shoot the man down. All I could think about was, what the hell am I doing here? I work on a radio system that will be used in all types of military equipment. It was really creepy to think that I could have in the passed, or possibly in the future, build something that may be used to kill someone. I'm sure the film was suppose to make us feel good about building important products that will help protect our soldiers. You can think of it that way, but what I was thinking of, was the war in Iraq. I have always thought the war was unnecessary. And I don't believe that we are any safer today than before the war. I truly wish more members of our congress would have opposed the war. Sadly, it didn't happen and many lives have been lost. We have limited our opportunities to make the world a better place because we are bogged down in an expensive and dangerous war.

I wouldn't say that I'm a pacifist, but I do believe that most wars can be avoided. I feel kind of guilty that I benefit from this war that I oppose. I go to work every day and build electrical equipment that I know nothing about except how it is put together. I never think about what it will be used for. The film today was kind of an in-your-face look at what we really do. I didn't like it. It didn't make me feel safe or comfortable that we are building a stronger military. It just made me think how a few people can use the technology to wage war on people that may not be a threat to us. I don't like the fact that I could have a part in that. Maybe I shouldn't feel that way. It's like the waiter taking the blame for a bad meal instead of the chef. I just make the gun, I didn't put the bullets in and shoot it. It's just a part of my life that I thought I was proud of. The fact that I do a good job at what I build. Now I'm not feeling that. I kind of feel like a hypocrite.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Bush Crys

Something struck me as kind of ironic about two of yesterdays news events and them being held on the same day. I just couldn't help thinking what the right wing talk show hosts would be saying if Bill Clinton had been in office. Would they be debating if his tears were really real or if he had been faking the whole event to gain support for the war? And would they question the whole event of honoring an American hero on the same day that Gen. David Petraeus was testifying about the war?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Boring Couple

We really haven't been doing anything too exciting lately. I guess we have fallen into the boring couple mode. Friday night Brenda came over and we had a few drinks and made a fire out back of the house in the chiminea.

Saturday night we met Jeff and Kerry at AL's Red Frog. Crazy Mark (one of Jeff's old friends) was there too with his latest girl friend. Crazy Mark has a new girl about every year or so. He likes his girls a little on the trashy side, if you know what I mean. Jeff introduced me to him about five years ago when he was still married to Wendy. The marriage was on the downhill slide at that time. Wendy is really something to say the least. About two minutes after meeting her she told me, "Mark doesn't f**k me anymore!" I was like...oh, that's nice to know.

Jeff has had this idea for a while that he wanted to go to bingo sometime for a laugh. I'm always game to try something new. Have you ever seen the Roseanne show when she is addicted to bingo? It is really scary to find out that the people at bingo are not an exaggeration! I have never seen so many dabbers (dobbers?) in my life. People have like twenty of them in front of them. I'm not sure why. Are the afraid they might run out of ink? Maybe they have a different color for each game? What ever it is, it's strange. The fashion statement for bingo is a pair of sweats and a baggy T shirt. And people take bingo very seriously too. We were told to be quiet a couple of times. One lady yelled out to everyone, " shut up, it's hard to concentrate!" I really didn't feel that it was that hard to play and talk, but I guess it is. It was fun though. I do think all that smoke shortened my life a bit. I wonder if they will be subject to the smoking ban that just passed?

I found this new blog today. It's like a Who's Who of crime in Cedar Rapids. The lady that has it must live in the few block area that a lot of crap happens . About four or five blocks away from us. Nothing has happened to us. I don't feel like I'm afraid of the area. Daryl doesn't read this blog and I'm NOT going to tell him about the crime blog. It would just freak him out! He told me last night that I left the back door unlocked two nights in a row. I was like Dick Cheney, So? I just forgot and I didn't think it was a big deal. I just figure if someone is going to break in, they will probably do it when we're not home. What do you think?

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Looking Foward To A Better Week

Last night I watch some of the CNN special on Martin Luther King. It was interesting seeing what America was like not that long ago. It’s a shame that in some ways we haven’t come very far.

I would celebrate my 4th birthday in July of 1968. It would be another 5 years before I would see a black person other than watching them on TV. It may seem kind of strange to some, but that’s what rural Iowa was and is like.

People fear what they don’t know. I ran into that kind of thinking this week at work. Debbie (I’ll call her) is a coworker of mine. She’s 62 years old and considers herself a person of deep faith. She is a stanch Republican and told me that she only watches FOX news and listens to Rush Limbaugh. She is a very helpful and generous person most of the time. Sometimes this conflixs with some of the things she has to say. Often she will throw out some catch fraise used by one of the talking heads from the right wing. This leads to some heated exchanges from not only me, but other people in the department.

Wednesday, she brought up the subject of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and the controversy about some of the things he said. I have to admit that I wasn’t really up on the whole issue. Partly because I haven’t been feeling the best, and the other thing is I try not to get too upset about things until I know more about them. In this case, I was uneducated about what he had or hadn’t said. I asked what exactly he said that upset her? Of course she couldn’t tell me what was said. I told her she should go to You Tube and listen to his speech before making decisions on the subject. She said she had heard the eight or so statements he had made and that was all she needed to know. He was Anti-American and she wasn’t going to vote for him (meaning Obama). Obama said he didn’t believe in those statements, I said. Then she said, “If Obama is elected there is going to be a race war.” I almost fell on the floor after hearing that! She said that’s what the blacks believe. I asked her how she new what all blacks believe and if she believed the same thing as every white person believes? Unfortunately, we were interrupted and the conversation ended. I never got an answer from her. Not that the answer would have made any sense anyway.

All I could think about that day was how amazing it is that we have to talk about this in 2008. That people still think that way. Even with all the changes in our society since the death of Dr. King. Debbie still sees people as groups of them verses us and doesn’t take into account that we are all human and have different opinions. I don’t understand it. She is well traveled and works with people of all different races and backgrounds. She doesn’t seem to have a problem working with anyone. Why is there a blockage of thought when it comes to issues of race? Is it because we tend to separate each other into categories? Is it because of what she listens to on the news and radio and her deep faith, as she calls it? It’s puzzling to me.

I believe I have grown a lot since I came out of the closet many years ago. I think about my prejudice sometimes. I work on not lumping people together. That comes from the fact that we see people lump all gay people together. It’s disturbing to see people misuse Bible scripture to justify discrimination. It’s an old trick to pull things out of contexts. We surround ourselves with friends that except us and we forget about the people don’t.

It would be easy to dismiss what Debbie had said if not for the next day I read an article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

CEDAR RAPIDS — An audit of 39 property management companies in Cedar Rapids found that 29 of them discriminated between black and white applicants.

I have often felt that Cedar Rapids has a problem with race, mostly since I moved into my neighborhood almost six years ago. Local people use the words like “The Hood” to describe the area or they refer to our local grocery store as “Ghetto Hy-vee” instead of the 1st Avenue Store. I often correct people when they make those statements, but I continue to hear it all the time. They perpetuate the prejudice by tell new people in town that they should avoid buying or living in certain areas. One engineer at work was told that you should buy anything on any side of town but avoid the SE side. It’s funny that some of the wealthiest people in town live in SE Cedar Rapids. What they are really saying is stay away from an area with minorities. Cedar Rapids is prodomitaly white and has a low crime rate compared to other cities of its size. What is their fear based on?

I hope that this year the election will open our eyes to the work we have ahead of us. Are we really willing to change and elect a woman or a black man as president? The policy differences are clear. We have one side looking towards the future to what America should be and can be. The other side is trying to hold us back and to conserve the past that at times have not been good for everyone. I’m optimistic that we can move forward. It has been depressing the last 7 years watching this country make the mistakes it has made and stagnating to the degree it has. My hope is that Martin Luther King’s dream is still alive and that we will continue to make and enforce the laws to protect ALL people in America. What I can do is keep speaking up when I hear people saying things that are divisive and discrimitory and try to keep myself in check.

And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

-Martin Luther King-